2.5 month update. I took the 2 month pics just after a water change - too cloudy to bother posting.
We had a Labor Day party at the house yesterday. My friends that had wanted me to keep the reef were pleasantly surprised by the new setup. Not a single person felt like I made a bad decision. A few people thought I should set up a second tank as a reef. This will not happen. I'm fine limiting myself to one box of water for the foreseeable future.
Everything seems to be coming along well. I'm happy with the plant selection thus far and I'm up to 5 bristlenose plecos, 5 SAE, 5 cories, and 18 cardinals. Looking to end up with ~60 cardinals and ~8 congos.
The cories laid eggs earlier this week. This was a pretty neat event to explain to the kiddos.
I'm fighting spirogyra. Does this stuff suck as much as I think it does? I thought that I would be able to beat it with diligent removal. However, I decided to resort to Algae Fix (I'm not quick to jump for products like this). The spirogyra in the HC has been so aggravating that I've considered pulling out all of the HC and throwing it away. I've tossed many large clumps just because I didn't care to sift out the good from the bad.
I'm also fighting snails - looking for some advice here. Work took me away for two weeks and when I came back the snail population had not only exploded, but they had laid eggs all over the place. I've been plucking as fast as I see them but it doesn't seem that I will ever get them all. There has to be a better strategy that I'm overlooking. What next? I would like to add some shrimp down the road. With this in mind, I'm leery of getting the school of clown loaches that I had earlier planned. Maybe get the loaches then return them after a few months?
It will get a hair cut next week...